Just this past September, a tornado hit Park Slope, Central Brooklyn and parts of Queens in New York City, doing substantial damage in a few short minutes. This same squall also spawned tornadoes in parts of Ocean County and Perth Amboy.
New Jerseyans also remember the wrath of a severe nor’easter that did significant damage this past spring. Several people died, a state of emergency was declared, and thousands of people were evacuated and spent time in makeshift shelters. Flash floods like those that crippled the Garden State in March 2010 are just the most recent examples of why condo and HOA board members, managers and unit owners have to think seriously about emergency planning.
At one time, when people talked about emergency planning for multifamily buildings, they mainly meant fires, or very temporary power outages of a few hours at maximum. Then, 9/11 made everyone think of the possibility of man-made catastrophe. The blackout that hit New York City and parts of New Jersey in 2003 added lengthy power outages to everyone’s worries. Add the possibility of hurricanes, floods, snowstorms and more, and the result is enough to scare almost anyone.
Help and resources are readily available, however, and disaster or emergency planning is on the front burner in many of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. It’s just a matter of learning what to do.
Safety and management pros agree that within your building or development, you have to have people you can rely on.